[CD Review] Jay-Z, 'The Blueprint 3' (Roc Nation)

Influential hip-hop writers, through a poll on blog Passion of the Weiss, recently determined that Jay-ZNs 2001 work, The Blueprint, is the best rap album of the decade. The only other thing most of them could agree on was that his follow-up, The Blueprint2: The Gift N the Curse, blew.

Unfortunately, The Blueprint 3 veers closer to the second, in that itNs less inspired and less fluid than the first. Having finally exhausted every drug-dealing anecdote, Jay doesnNt have much to rap about here, other than his new deal with Live Nation, being buddies with Obama and living in TriBeCa next to Robert De Niro. So he tries to razzle-dazzle us with a bunch of left-field, supposedly cutting-edge sounds, which range approximately from “soundtrack to a French mime show” (“Thank You”) to “Liza Minnelli after four shots of espresso” (“Empire State of Mind”). Mostly, though, the album is JayNs attempt to get hip—or hipster—as he enlists a crop of fresh new talent (Kid Cudi, Mr Hudson) discovered by Kanye West to help him sound relevant. Unfortunately, much like a 40-year-old divorcee who hits the town with her daughterNs friends, itNs clear that Jay doesnNt quite fit in among this crowd, and The Blueprint 3 suffers for it.

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